Can someone explain to me exactly what dulce de leche is supposed to be? Some people say it's butterscotch, others call it caramel. Wikipedia calls it thick, caramel-like milk-based sauce or spread. I don't care, all I know is that this stuff is utterly divine. And dangerous. I usually keep a tub of it in my house in my baking drawer (yes, I have a dedicated baking drawer, don't we all?) but sometimes it migrates to the counter. This stuff is so yummy spread on white toast, inside a Chanuka sufganiya or just dolloped onto your index finger and lovingly slurped. Unashamedly slurped!
But if you feel that you must deal with this substance in a quasi-adult manner, it melds perfectly and serendipitously with cheesecake. This Shavuot, why not add a little milky sweetness to your cheesecake, and then just sit back and smile to yourself as everyone oohs and aahs and asks for seconds.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
1 sleeve petit beurre cookies (roughly 33 cookies)
100 grams butter (1/2 stick)
500 grams (1 pound) cream cheese (I use 9% Ski cheese)
1 packet (3 1/2 ounces, 85 grams) instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup sugar (I used light brown)
1 tub (roughly 2 1/2 cups) dulce de leche (caramel or butterscotch spread)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 F).
2. Place the cookies in the food processor and grind to fine crumbs. Add the butter in chunks and whizz around until it's all the texture of wet sand. Empty out into a prepared springform pan (25 centimeters diameter, 10 inch), press into a crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pan and set aside.
3. Place the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix at low speed until just completely combined. You do not want this stuff whizzing around at light speed, you do not want to incorporate air into your cheesecake. This is not a light and fluffy cheesecake, it is dense and sinful.
4. Pour the cheese mixture over the cookie crumb crust and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Use a timer and thank me later.
5. When the timer rings after 10 minutes (you can thank me now), turn the heat down to 110 degrees C (225 F) and let the cheesecake hang out in the oven for another hour. Setting the timer is a good idea again.
6. When the timer goes off after an hour, turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in there for at least another hour. You don't need to set a timer, leaving it in there for longer (I'm talking hours, not days) won't do it any damage. Then transfer to the fridge and let it hang out in there for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.